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Come Out With That Fighting Spirit - Keith Hill

2 September 2016

Manager Keith Hill spoke to Dale PlayerHD ahead of Saturday’s League 1 fixture v Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium…


The U’s clinched automatic promotion to League 1 at the end of last season and Hill believes they deserved their success. 

“We’re looking forward to the game,” said Hill. 

“I’ve been looking at what Oxford have done and the infrastructure at the football club since Michael Appleton and Derek Fazackerley took over.

“The ownership at the club is very ambitious and the way they’re doing things is very productive. It’s calculated investment and calculated success on the pitch, and they deserved to be promoted.

“I know they sold a few players in the summer but they’ve invested that money wisely and they’re a very good side.”

Rochdale head into the game on the back of last weekend’s 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon, a game where Dale were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Callum Camps.

Hill believes that the reaction shown by the players following the sending off stands Dale in good stead for the weekend. 

“The players have got to believe in themselves and believe in each other. It’s difficult when you’re going through a rough patch at any time in the season, never mind a start of the season, with respect to results.

“Confidence is a big issue and the young players have to learn very quickly that they have to get over it, they have to support themselves and they have to be brave. You’re looking for players to be brave when we’re not getting the type of results that we deserve - it can help you grow as a man and as a team. 

“I believe, to a certain degree, that when Campsy got sent off at the weekend it helped the players grow. I think it stands us in good stead going into the weekend. 

“It shows you there’s a fighting spirit but we’re better than just a fighting spirit."

Camps will miss Saturday’s match through suspension, while Matty Lund is also unavailable for selection after his call-up to the Northern Ireland squad for their World Cup qualifier.

Hill also says several (unnamed) players are doubtful due to injury. 

“Sometimes in your worst hour you get the best responses from the players you’ve got available and we’ll go into the game with a fighting eleven. Whether it’s the type of 11 we expect, I’m not too sure,” smiled the upbeat Hill.

“I know that Paul Tisdale made himself substitute during the week and Gareth Ainsworth played for Wycombe. We’re not quite there where staff are going to be involved, but we’ve had more than a few skittles down in training this week. I'm not sure if that's psychological or physical. 

“It’s one of those adverse weeks but you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve sometimes got to wallow in adversity and come out with that fighting spirit - ‘here I am, I’m 10 men’ attitude. I want that.”

The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD. 


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